Acts of Kindness
Prison inmates learn to quilt and give back to community by making gifts for foster gifts
“It gives them comfort and satisfaction to know that a quilt they’ve made is going to a child who may not get another birthday present.”
Luis Gaskell
12.09.22

Some inmates from Missouri found another way to serve their sentences last year.

Rather than handle a shovel or package items, they’ve been handed the sewing needle and some fabric.

But they’re not making prison uniforms with them.

Inmate Fred Brown here was serving time for kidnapping and sexual assault and now finds himself sewing quilts.

Pexels - RODNAE Productions
Source:
Pexels - RODNAE Productions

The 66-year-old inmate says his mother used to sew when he was a kid.

He never expected he’d pick up the skill himself, let alone in this setting, I would imagine.

Brown, who dons a pair of glasses and has a white beard, learned the skill 4 years earlier.

The way it started was when he heard of inmates in Licking’s South Central Correction Center sewing for charity.

Pexels - RODNAE Productions
Source:
Pexels - RODNAE Productions

When you’ve got a sentence to serve, I suppose you’d also pick labor that’s fun to do.

So Brown joined the club, and here he is now.

“I learned quickly that women who have sewn all their lives are mathematical geniuses,” he said

He’s sewn quite a lot of things now, which contributed to his newfound respect for the skill.

It should give him something to do while he serves time for the nasty crimes he committed.

Pexels - Suzy Hazelwood
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Pexels - Suzy Hazelwood

“It takes a lot of math to calculate your seam allowances. And the angles and circles. There’s a lot that goes into it.”

The group he heard of was making quilts for charity organizations. Particularly, children’s foster care.

Pexels - Leticia Ribeiro
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Pexels - Leticia Ribeiro

Brown is happy with the work he does. Learning that his work is going to good use pleases him a lot. One of his projects was a puppy quilt for a young teenage boy.

The amount of quilts that these organizations have received from prisoners numbers in the thousands now.

It may be strange to learn that the cute quilt in your possession was sewn by someone guilty of some horrendous things.

Pexels - nappy
Source:
Pexels - nappy

But you can’t deny the quality of it, right?

The other inmates share his sentiment. While they’re in here away from the outside world, sewing and putting it to charitable use takes their mind off things.

62-year-old Richard Sanders, who is serving a life sentence for murder, also found peace and purpose in sewing.

Pexels - Ron Lach
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Pexels - Ron Lach

He’s also produced a few hundred quilts after learning to sew from the persuasion of other inmates.

It’s not going to lighten their sentences, obviously.

Pexels - Cottonbro Studio
Source:
Pexels - Cottonbro Studio

Sexual assault, armed kidnapping, robbery, or potential murder are atrocious things.

A few cute quilts won’t change the judges’ or officers’ minds on that.

Instead, think of it as a humane method of labor to do in prison.

It’s a welcome change compared to other forms of prison labor which many argued bordered on slavery. Joe Satterfield, the prison case manager, says:

“It gives them comfort and satisfaction to know that a quilt they’ve made is going to a child who may not get another birthday present”

Pexels - Anna Tarazevich
Source:
Pexels - Anna Tarazevich

Learn more about the inmate quilting program in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Luis Gaskell
[email protected]
Luis Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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